Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., delivered a speech on the Senate floor this morning welcoming the pontiff. Britan's The Catholic Herald shares from McConnell's remarks:
"This week we welcome his Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, for his first visit to America as Pope.
"Here in Washington, Pope Benedict will meet the President at the White House, marking only the second time in America's history that a pontiff has visited the White House. He will offer Mass at the newly opened Nationals Park, and deliver and address at Catholic University.
"Pope Benedict will then travel to New York, where he will address the United Nations, visit Ground Zero, site of the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks, and say Mass at Yankee Stadium.
"During his visit, the pope will also champion a brotherhood of faith between the religions, by meetig with leaders from the Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and other faiths.
"As the Bishop of Rome, the pope's leadership inspires millions with confidence that mankind can find God's will amidst the chaos of this world.
Yet, for all the obvious affection people show him, Pope Benedict would be the first to recognise that he is merely 'a simple, humble labourer in the vineyard of the Lord'. We are honoured by his visit."